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Is Shimano dominant in US lbs's? If so, how long?(18 posts)

Is Shimano dominant in US lbs's? If so, how long?fbg111
Oct 31, 2002 2:16 PM
At my lbs the other day, I asked a wrench the differences b/t Campy & Shimano. His main response was that Shimano is more ubiquitous in the US and therefore easier to get serviced. Didn't sound like he really knew, and I assumed he's never worked on Campy, or at least rarely. But anyway, I know Campy is an older company, so was there ever a time they were dominant in the US, before Shimano came along? Did Shimano do what Japanese companies are good at, slowly taking over market share over 20 years? Or was Campy never really in the American market to begin with?
re: Is Shimano dominant in US lbs's? If so, how long?TJeanloz
Oct 31, 2002 2:34 PM
Campy has always owned the 'high-end' market, all over the world. I would venture to guess that Campy Record/Chorus sells more than Dura-Ace, even in the U.S.A.

Below the high-end on the road, there were historically a lot of companies battling it out- Simplex, Suntour, Shimano, Heuret, Miche, Dia-Compe, Sachs etc., etc.

Shimano really came to the front for two reasons, one is mountain biking, which Shimano was immediately dominant in (Campy and Mavic both tried and failed in the market), and which became far more popular in the United States. Consider that many bike shops don't stock road bikes (or didn't from 1990-1999), and most shops will be exposed mostly to Shimano. So then, when the shop needs to order the odd road bike, they buy what they know- Shimano. So yes, Shimano picked up market share, but they took it mostly in a consolidation of smaller players rather than from Campy.
Oct 31, 2002 7:31 PM
"Campy has always owned the 'high-end' market, all over the world. I would venture to guess that Campy Record/Chorus sells more than Dura-Ace, even in the U.S.A."

I have to disagree with this. First, Record and Chorus are 2 groups, so for the sake of argument we should compare Record sales volume to DA, or Record/Chorus to DA/Ultegra. Either way, I think Shimano sells more high end road groups. Look at where the volume is - noncustom, mass produced road bikes from large manufacturers. Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, etc. They are almost always outfitted with Shimano DA/Ultegra, and lower groups. Campy OEM bikes are very rare. When you do see one, it may be a high end "team replica" one, like Giant ONCE, Specialized M Road, or some slick Cannondale CAAD7. Trek obviously only outfits OCLV with Shimano.

I wouldn't be surprised if more Litespeeds were sold with Shimano. But, I think Campy may own the high end build to order or complete custom market,but I think these numbers are smaller than what the big companies churn out.
Disagree all you want,TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2002 5:36 AM
I postulate that Record and Chorus sell more than Dura-Ace, which I think is the right statistic if you want to compare the 'high-end' market, because all three groups are at the same price threshold. If you compared to only Record, there could be an argument that some people choose Dura-Ace purely on price, but when you include Chorus, it mitigates the difference in price and more accurately encompasses the high-end market.

You are right that most high-end 'bikes' from the big manufacturers in the United States are built with Dura-Ace. However, these bikes don't sell. In my 3 years as a Specialized / Trek dealer, I sold exactly 6 top-of-the-line bikes, and they were the 6 that I brought in as floor samples and sold at a very heavy discout. Selling a stock 5900 or E-5 is a very rare event- because their framesets are available, and given the choice, customers would rather pick their own parts than have a buyer at Trek or Specialized pick their parts. It's also usually substantially cheaper to go the frame/fork route than buy the complete bike.

If we include Ultegra, I'm sure Shimano sells more in the U.S., but I never considered Ultegra a 'high end' group. My point is only that Campy runs a little ahead in the build to order market, and this market includes almost the entire high-end market- people generally don't buy the super high end complete bikes from big manufacturers.
Disagree all you want,gtx
Nov 1, 2002 7:50 AM
Until I see stats that say otherwise, I'd still guess there are more DA groups sold than Record/Chorus combined. And DA definitely dominated the high end market from the late 80s to the mid 90s.
The tide definitely turned with 10-speed,TJeanloz
Nov 1, 2002 8:10 AM
I'd be interested to see market share numbers, prior to 10 speed, Dura-Ace was definitely favored. After 10 speed, a lot of people bought Campy not so much because of the extra gear, but because they were sure that Dura-Ace was about to change too, and they didn't want to be stuck with 9 speed in a 10 speed world. At our shop, it went from 50/50 to 90% Campy in that time period. Granted, the same period corresponded to lower Campy prices and higher Shimano prices due to currency fluctuations.
It would be interesting to see nationwide statspeloton
Nov 1, 2002 11:54 AM
I know in my corner of the world Dura-ace definitely sells more. Even the custom builds that are put together around here rarely ever is a Chorus/Record gruppo hung on it. I think that it has to do with the limited distribution of Campy components more than anything around here. Most people tend to ask questions like what would they do if they suddenly needed a part before an event. It would simply be hard to find a quick Campy replacement, and Shimano is readily availible everywhere. I've only had one riding buddy in the past two years choose a Record group. Everyone else is on Dura-ace.

Nationwide stats would be interesting. Based on my corner of the world though, I wouldn't bet against Dura-ace as the best seller.
re: Is Shimano dominant in US lbs's? If so, how long?laffeaux
Oct 31, 2002 2:46 PM
Campy used to have a larger market share, but they never dominated like Shimano currently does. Japanese components began to take over in the US in the 1970s when they provided high quality parts for cheaper than the European manufacturers (Campy, Huret, etc.). By the 80s, Suntour (another Japanese company) and Shimano were battling it out for the top spot. Somewhere in the mid-80s Shimano succeeded to out sell SunTour for the first time and began their domination. By the early 1990s Suntour was gone.

Campy and Huret were two of the bigger companies prior to the 1970s. However lower prices and higher quality parts allowed the Japanese to take over.

The wrench was correct - Shimano is much more ubiquitous in the US. Every shop sells it, and every shop works on it. For mountain bikes, the market penetration for Shimano is even higher than in road bikes. Campy tried (half heartedly) in the and early 90s to make MTB parts, but they never made a dent in the market.
good article to readlaffeaux
Oct 31, 2002 2:51 PM
If you're really interested in this subject read this article. It's from the view point of Suntour, but it's very good.
30 years ago, Shimano was an also-ran.Spoke Wrench
Oct 31, 2002 2:54 PM
SunTour, who developed the slant parallellogram rear derailleur had pretty rapidly acquired the market share previously held by Simplex and Huret. Campy had the high end market, but not much else.

Then, in the early 80's, Shimano was the first brand to figure out "index shifting." Shimano ate SunTour's lunch and acquired such a dominate market share that there was talk of monopoly sanctions. Campy had the high end market but not much else.

That's pretty much the way I see it today. Campy has attempted to capture a bit of the middle market share, but gave up on the big US mountain bike market. It looks to me like Shimano has been somewhat more successful with DuraAce invading Campy's high end territory.

It looks to me like Shimano and Suntour before them rapidly acquired market share in the US after bringing out products that had clearly superior technology. It looks to me like they are attempting to continue that strategy, but all of their ideas havn't been winners (bio-pace chainrings and rapid rise derailleurs). I don't think they've had a home run since STI shifters.
Big home run - XTR rapid risedeHonc
Oct 31, 2002 3:43 PM
Ask any serious MTB rider about rapid rise - the XTR is a brilliant product. I don't know - what do you expect the components to do in addition to what they do now very well - make a short black? I mean its just a device to move a chain around some sprockets!
rapid rise no, but splined BB, yeslaffeaux
Oct 31, 2002 4:05 PM
I'm a pretty serious mountian biker, and I could live without rapid rise - in fact I do.

On the other hand, splined BBs and self extracting crank bolts are a big step forward. It's nice to be able to pull off a set of cranks (with an allen wrench) and not have to readjust the front der. after doing so.
That has changed now.divve
Oct 31, 2002 4:14 PM
For XTR 03 a rear Rapid Rise derailleur is essential. You tap or lift the brake lever upward to shift to a larger cog in the rear. The effort required to do this without spring assistance is just too great.
You can have my Rapid Rise Der.biknben
Nov 1, 2002 5:15 AM
I never found it to work BETTER than other XTR ders. It did the same thing differently.

The innovation that put XTR head and shoulders above all else was the V-Brake. XTR was already a solid product. V-Brakes changed the way we stop a MTB. No more squeel, constant pad adjustment, etc. Screww them on, center them, and make sure you don't put yourself over the bars.

I also am a big fan of the splined BB and 4-arm Hallogram crank.
Big home run - XTR rapid risedeHonc
Oct 31, 2002 4:44 PM
Ask any serious MTB rider about rapid rise - the XTR is a brilliant product. I don't know - what do you expect the components to do in addition to what they do now very well - make a short black? I mean its just a device to move a chain around some sprockets!
Oct 31, 2002 3:08 PM
I also heard from a shop owner that shops stock more Shimano products because the main distributor allows floorplan of stock, meaning the shop doesn't have to pay for it immediately; this allows a "no cost" time to stock and then sell; Campy parts are COD, meaning the shop is out the money right away.

Face it, too, Shimano is cheaper, and therefore more likely people will buy it if they don't appreciate the differences.
Oct 31, 2002 3:21 PM
The way I see it...own the OEM market and you have 95% of the customers.
Not that I'm aware of,TJeanloz
Oct 31, 2002 3:43 PM
There may be particular deals with certain bike manufacturers parts divisions, which let you "buy now, pay later" (Trek Component Group comes to mind) with the rest of your bike order, but most distributors treat Campy and Shimano the same way. The problem is that the bike-company affiliated parts distributor (TCG, Riteway (pre-Schwinn bankruptcy, Specialized, etc.) are always more expensive than Quality or ZAR. On the other hand, many bike shops aren't managed as well as they might be, and it might seem like a good idea to pay more for something later as opposed to less for it now. And if shops used one of these programs, they only happen once a year- you place your order right after Interbike, receive it as it becomes available, and pay for it in thirds on March 1, April 1, and May 1.

I think the answer lies in MTB OEM; which has to account for 75% of bicycle parts.